I love social media. You know that whole Facebook memories thing? I have a feeling that someone, at one time or another, was thinking up all the ways they could make moms of young children spend even more time on Facebook. “Why not let them look back at all the old photos of their kids when they were babies?” they said. Why not make my ovaries burst and make me go tearfully hover over all my sleeping children while wondering how in the world they have gotten so big, is more like it! Do I post adorable pictures of my children for the main purpose of seeing that photo a year from now? Yes. Yes, I do.
But there’s also another wonderful thing that happens when we share bits and pieces of our lives over the internet. Often, we find a community of like-minded people. People who enjoy looking at our photos or reading our posts. People that start conversations, share in laughs, love to see what our children are doing, and are there to say, “I know what you mean, me too!” Social media connects us to friends right next door and friends a world away. It connects us to people we would never have had the chance to meet face to face. Connecting and building community in this way can be a really beautiful thing.
When we continue to share bits and pieces of our lives day in and day out, we get use to the constant feedback. We value the comment that someone makes or the likes they give. We notice when certain posts and pictures shared are responded to better than others.
Our family recently went to the beach. I was happy to find a two-piece bathing suit that was really cute, and I felt comfortable in 6 months after having baby number three. It gave coverage on top and was high waisted. Postpartum bellies unite! Sure, my body isn’t perfect, but I felt comfortable and confident in that suit. We of course took some pictures while we were at the beach, and I shared a few of me in my suit with my kids. I tagged the sellers of my swim suit on Instagram, and they asked if they could share my picture. I said sure!
About a month later when they shared my picture, I followed the comments. The picture was with my 6-month-old son, so I expected the “awws” and “cute” comments. What I didn’t expect, was for someone to pick out something about my body that they thought was gross. But what I also didn’t expect, was for other mamas to come to my defense, and beautifully and passionately defend this mama’s body.
It actually all turned out that the negative comment someone made, was not intended to be directed negatively towards the way I look at all.
Words have power, friends.
And when I first read those words, I was taken aback. I wasn’t so much hurt, as wondering, who would say these things? I felt a little self-conscious, but I also felt proud of my imperfect looking body that has birthed three babies! I was in no way flaunting my body, but it was good to feel confident and comfortable in the body that God has given me! And when I continued to check back and read the supportive words of other women, it built up my self-esteem. I was grateful for their comments.
I kept checking back. Looking for new comments. Wondering what someone else would say.
You see, I was placing a lot of value in the words of others. Both the negative and the positive. What I determine others perception of me to be, should not define my worth. Did you hear that? Whatever is being said on social media about you, whether good or bad, that is not where your worth is found. My worth is found in Jesus Christ alone, and so is yours, friend.
While social media can be a powerful tool to build community, and build each other up. It can also just as easily, (if not more easily), be used to tear each other down. We have to be careful with what we say to others, and we have to be careful with the value we place on what others say.
If we are constantly looking for affirmation through our social media posts, or we are letting the comments of others change the whole emotional course of our day, it’s time to take a step back. It’s time to examine how we truly feel, and not all the voices of the world around us. It’s time to place more value in the here and now that’s right in front of us. Because remember, friends, your worth is not found in an Instagram post.